One of the first things you hear when you sign up in a network marketing company, (after you are told that it’s the answer to your financial dreams) is you need to make a list of all your family, friends, associates, and acquaintances. This will be your potential network of new business partners.
One book I read, even suggests that the list should contain 2000 people. WOW! I thought. There is no way I know 2000 people.
I once attended a church seminar on church growth. Studies show that a church cannot grow past around 250 members, because that’s all the names and faces we are capable of recognizing. If a church grows past that number, then they must split the services up; so the membership can retain a familiarity with each other.
But, being a duly diligent student of MLM, I decided I would attempt to make this list. How many names did I come up with?
That’s a list of friends, family, old school chums, church lists, club memberships, past clients, and co-workers. Some on the list were as vague as “The guy who takes his breaks at the B-Quik store every morning” or “Lady who always says Hello at the Country Club”. I mean I wrote down everyone I could think of.
I thought it was a pretty impressive “warm list”. I can’t go wrong.
The problem was and still is; most of my (and probably yours, too) friends, acquaintances and associates have already been approached by other friends, acquaintances, and associates about some other “awesome” opportunity.
Everyday people are bombarded with countless pitches, advertisements, fliers, and opportunity meetings disguised as dinner parties. Online; they suffer through pop-ups, SPAM, message board ads, and countless other pitches hawking everything from the latest electronic gadget to the next cure for cancer. Seth Godin describes it as clutter or static. People are tired of the constant interruption of their time.
That’s why I practice a technique called “attraction marketing.” New teachings encourage adding value back into the lives of people. “Community building on the Web” strives to bring together like-minded people into online communities. In these communities, we have the chance to discuss issues that are relevant to the community. We truly network with people that may be attracted to our opportunity. They ask what we do; they are truly interested in how we run our business.
They may contact us by e-mail or instant message; they may visit our website. They come to rely on our opinions. They ask to be contacted. There is no need to “sell” them on your opportunity. You become a valued member of the community. But your community is not just contained in your own city; your community becomes worldwide. Your potential is limitless.
So what do I do with that old list of 886 names?
Well, think back to the “guy who takes his break at the B-Quik”; What do I really know about him? What do I know about any of the people on my list? They are just names. If I started calling them, most would only have a vague idea of who I am? Even if my opportunity is the “greatest deal ever”; it will not be important to them because I just become an off-line version of the pop-up ad. An interruption in their daily lives. More static to clear away.
BUT, what if I re-kindled the relationship with these people? What if I contacted them merely to say “hi” and catch up with what’s going on in their lives?
I don’t mean contact them and say, “What’s up…Good…Let ME tell YOU what I’m involved with!”
I’m talking about becoming an active part of my community. What difference would that make in my business?
What if I was an active member in the Chamber of Commerce? What if I was bringing soft drinks for the little league team? What if I was writing to the local paper op-ed section on a regular basis? What if I was on the PTA committee? What if I volunteered to help the guy next to me finish a difficult report at work?
The question is, If I was adding value to my off line community the way I was adding value to my online community, would I need to put a flier on the windshield of a car? I don’t think so.
If I was adding value to my off line community, people would be attracted to me, they would be interested in me, they would contact me. There would be no need to pitch an opportunity. No need for a magnetic sign on my car.
I wouldn’t have to bring up my business in some stilted form of conversation. I would not have to listen to the audible “cues” of people complaining about their jobs or unable to pay their bills. People in my community would just recognize I might be able to help them with a problem. And when I did, they would be grateful, and they might ask me again and again.
That would be true network marketing.